Maybe you’re a techie yourself, see a gap in the market for businesses unsupported in your sector, or region, or believe you can offer something different to the nationals that tend to dominate the business tech market.
Presuming you’ve got all your business basics in place, such as setting up a legal entity, your accounting, insurance and any legalities, here are our tips, hints and things to think about for setting up your own IT support company:
- Business planning
You’ll need to establish the startup and ongoing costs for your business. You’ll also need to define your target market, who and where your potential customers are, and all the relevant services and charges you are going to apply to them.
How is your business going to make money, and what are your plans for making it more profitable?
- Know what you do and what you don’t do
If you know very clearly what you do, and how this solves businesses’ problems, the better able you will be to set your boundaries. If a customer asks you to build a complex website but your specialism is really networks, don’t do it, or outsource it to a relevant specialist.
You will harm an otherwise good reputation by not being self-aware enough to know what could be done better by someone else.
- Know your competitors
Read reviews, get to know the local and national markets. Find out about your competitors services and their prices, and see how yours fit alongside or compare. It might be that a competitor offers services that could compliment yours so stay open to partnerships and collaborations that could benefit your customers and your business.
You’ll need legal assistance for this, but do not be tempted to embark on work for a customer without a contract. Cover all the bases in your contract, i.e. service hours, response times, what’s out of scope, what’s in scope. If you have an emergency, or out-of-hours rate, specify what it is, and all relevant payment terms.
- Marketing is everything
Work on your brand, your voice, and getting your message out. If you haven’t time to do this yourself, there are lots of able marketing, brand, and social media freelancers out there who can help you. From making it easy for your customers to leave you a review on Google, to ensuring your website converts – it’s all vital for your growth, sustainability and building your presence.
- Deliver solutions that solve business needs
Everything you do needs to be about solving business needs. Be clear on why you exist. Your role is to lead the conversation with your customers towards solutions for their greater efficiency, peace of mind and profitability.
- Learn from your mistakes
Assess. Evaluate. Adapt. If there’s a pattern to the feedback you receive about a certain product or approach, take it onboard. Actively look to respond to what’s not gone well. Your business will be the better for it in the long run.
- Be open to outsourcing
If it turns out that you can’t service a growing number of customers by yourself, or with a handful of employees, you will need to make the decision whether you take on more staff, or whether you are going to outsource some aspect of your operation.
As your customer base grows, and likely the breadth of services it demands from you, watch out for signs of stress and strain as your systems attempt to cope. It may not be just a case of hiring a few more members of staff, you may need a specialist. Or the monitoring and administration systems you use may be outgrown by the ever-evolving support you need to provide.
Recruiting and employing staff to run your own service desk my become too much of a demand on your business model, but there are options for outsourcing your service desk, either wholly or in part.
And, perhaps the easiest way to run your IT support company, either once you’ve built up a solid customer base, or even before, or in the process of, is to go for white label IT support. This is where a reputable IT support company takes over the servicing of all your customers, but the customers still believe it’s you. It’s still your company, and your customers, but you don’t have any of the stresses of delivery.
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